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JWW Global Soul Gala, United Hatzalah Fundraiser

Encino-based anti-genocide organization Jewish World Watch held its Global Soul gala at Warner Bros Studios in Burbank on Sept. 18.
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September 29, 2022
Global Soul Award honoree Nury Turkel and JWW Executive Director Serena Oberstein. Courtesy of Jewish World Watch

Encino-based anti-genocide organization Jewish World Watch held its Global Soul gala at Warner Bros Studios in Burbank on Sept. 18.

Schulweis Legacy Award honorees and JWW Board co-chairs Jane Cohen and Diana Buckhantz. Courtesy of Jewish World Watch

The evening of leadership, legacy and activism celebrated members of the community dedicated to fighting mass atrocities. Honorees were Uyghur leader Nury Turkel, chair of the United States Commission of International Religious Freedom and Hudson Institute Fellow, as well as JWW Board of Directors Co-Chairs Jane Cohen and Diana Buckhantz.  

Turkel received the Global Soul Award, and Cohen and Buckhantz were Schulweis Legacy Award recipients. 

Program participants included actor-producer Amy Brenneman. Elected officials and community leaders in attendance were Simon Wiesenthal Center Associate Dean Rabbi Abraham Cooper, State Assemblymember Jesse Gabriel and JWW Co-Founder Janice Kamenir-Reznik, among others.

The gala — JWW’s first since the COVID-19 shutdowns — also featured the music of women-led ensemble ADAAWE, which blends West African roots, gospel harmonies and American funk.   

Established in 2004, JWW seeks to build a future without genocide and mass atrocities. The late Rabbi Harold Schulweis and Kamenir-Reznik co-founded the nonprofit organization after learning about the ongoing genocide in Darfur, Sudan. Since then, JWW has grown from a collection of Southern California synagogues into an advocacy powerhouse drawing support from schools, churches, individuals, communities, and partner groups across the country. 


From left: Eli Beer, David Friedman, Miriam Adelson, Sunny Sassoon and Mark Gerson. Courtesy of United Hatzalah

American Friends of United Hatzalah held a Sept. 19 fundraiser at the Beverly Hilton Hotel that raised $12 million for Israel’s largest independent, non-profit, fully volunteer Emergency Medical Service organization.

More than 800 people gathered at the star-studded evening, including former U.S. Ambassador to Israel David Friedman and Dr. Miriam Adelson, both of whom have been big supporters of the organization. 

Throughout the night, supporters made donations that will go to purchase new vehicles and medical equipment, as well as train additional volunteers. 

Liraz Charhi, star of the hit TV series, “Tehran,” emceed the event and delivered a crowd-pleasing performance.

Other guests during the event included comedian Jay Leno, businessman and L.A. mayoral candidate Rick Caruso and former U.S. Ambassador to the EU Gordon Sondland.

The event was chaired by supporter Sunny Sassoon, who was honored together with Ruthi and Elliot Kahn, and Shannon and Jacob Zackary, by United Hatzalah President and Founder Eli Beer, as well as the organization Chairman Mark Gerson for their ongoing support of Hatzalah activities.

“The continuing support that we have seen here from people in Los Angeles and the Southern California community is incredible,” Beer said. “Two-and-a-half years ago, our gala here was the last major event before COVID-19 broke out. So much has changed, but one thing that hasn’t changed is how truly dedicated people here are to support the mission of saving lives both here and in Israel.”

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